The images and stories of the devastating floods in the Houston area are heart-breaking — and they’ll undoubtedly keep coming as the storm continues to take its toll. But in this time of sadness and tragedy, we’re also encouraged that so many people are stopping at nothing to help (such as these journalists saving lives). The help has even extended to performing amazing acts of food kindness during Hurricane Harvey.
Here are just a few uplifting stories from the Texas flood that have made our hearts swell. We have a feeling they’ll make yours do the same.
Bakers gonna bake
When rising flood waters trapped the bakers of El Bolillo Bakery in Houston inside the shop, they didn’t freak out. Instead, they baked batch after batch of sweet pan dulce to later feed the other victims of Harvey that they knew were out there.
The bakers worked tirelessly all night and into the next day, plowing through about 4,400 pounds of flour before they hung up their aprons.
Chefs gonna chef
Chefs have been working nonstop in various organizations’ kitchens and in their own restaurants to make more than 10,000 meals a day for evacuees and relief workers. Using a website called I Have Food I Need Food, commercial kitchens and licensed caterers list the sorts of food they have stocked, and shelters reach out with their food wish lists.
Another chef-created group, Houston Service Industry for Harvey Relief, is also cranking out and distributing thousands of meals every day. Individual restaurants (like Brennan’s of Houston, above) are contributing on their own, too, making hundreds of sandwiches and hot meals for anyone who needs them.
Chefs are now also driving meals to people along the Gulf Coast, and bringing donations for supplies like baby formula, diapers, first aid necessities, and toiletries with them.
Dining for donations
Tons of local restaurants and chefs are hosting special meals and events with proceeds going to Harvey relief, and inviting first responders to eat free. Seriously, tons: all of these Houston-area restaurants are participating (like Hugo’s, pictured above) and then there are these ones donating their proceeds too. Even Dallas restaurants are helping out.
Customers don’t necessarily even have to be based in Texas to help contribute to the restaurants’ cause. Places such as Del Frisco’s is donating 20 percent of sales from its 53 locations to Houston-area food banks through September 4, hoping to raise $1 million.
As restaurateurs who know firsthand the damage a hurricane can wreak, the Louisiana Restaurant Association and the Greater New Orleans Foundation teamed up to start a Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund, and New Orleans celebrity chef John Best brought in his team to feed 1,200 meals to evacuees.
THANK YOU to our Oak Lake Pizza Hut team for their out-of-the-car response to deliver hot pizzas all day to the community they serve. pic.twitter.com/Xmkv9XhrKw
— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) August 30, 2017
Pizza delivery by kayak
When Shayda Habib, the manager of a Pizza Hut in Sugar Land, Texas, realized that her restaurant was fully operational while neighbors’ houses were not, she and her employees fired up the ovens and churned out 120 hot pizzas. They loaded them into a makeshift fleet of kayaks, and everyone paddled the unexpected free pies to hungry residents nearby.
Habib says that her store will continue to make and deliver pizzas until it runs out of supplies. “You never let your family go hungry,” she says.
Food with a side of jet skis
Karen and J.C. Spencer thought their house had weathered Harvey until Monday, when water started pouring in. Acting quickly, J.C. didn’t call the fire or police departments. Instead, he called out f. He told Good Morning America: “I ordered two grilled chicken burritos with extra egg and a boat.”
The manager of the restaurant dispatched her husband in a boat, which wasn’t large enough for the Spencers and their belongings. But as they were figuring out how to make it work, two jet skiers happened to come by, and helped whisk everyone to safety.
And those are just a few of the restaurant industry’s initiatives to help Harvey victims. We have no doubt there will be many more.
Photos: Texas Military Department via cc license